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WOMAD coming to the heart of the CBD with free NPDC Pop Up Festival

Taranaki is about to get a free glimpse of some of the exciting acts hitting the stage at the award-winning WOMAD festival.

On the day before the festival kicks into gear at Brooklands Park the community will be treated to a sampler of what is on offer.

The free Pop Up Festival is supported by NPDC and takes place on Puke Ariki Landing in New Plymouth on Thursday March 14.

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The two hour event features performances from international WOMAD act Las Cafeteras, and renowned New Zealand singer songwriters Charlotte Johansen and Victoria Girling-Butcher.

WOMAD NZ Event Director and Programme Manager Emere Wano says the Pop Up has a very relaxed and fun vibe to it and offers a glimpse of what the weekend will be like.

“If you've never been to WOMAD, can't afford to come to WOMAD, or don't know what WOMAD is, then the Pop Up is the place to be,” she says.

“Mums and dads with pushchairs, workers on their lunch breaks, and even classes of school kids come down to eat their lunch and watch some entertainment. Then you've got people just strolling past, who hear the music and come and join in.”

NPDC Manager Venues and Events Ron Murray says it’s the fifth year the council has brought WOMAD into the heart of the CBD.

It’s awesome that NPDC is able to put on the Pop Up WOMAD Festival each year with the help of WOMAD NZ and give our community a free taste of this fantastic festival,” he says.

“It’s always well attended with families enjoying the great acts on the beautiful setting of Puke Ariki Landing. As well as music, there will be food trucks so those working in New Plymouth can pop down on their lunch breaks as well.

“NPDC’s See it in the City is supporting this year’s event - which we see as a curtain-raiser to the main festival at Brooklands Park - and it’s always a pleasure to welcome artists from across the globe to our wonderful corner of the world while we help keep our CBD thriving.”

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The Pop Up is a part of WOMAD’s Community Programme, which Wano says makes the festival accessible throughout Taranaki with workshops, free concerts and artist interactions.

“The Pop Up helps to endorse New Plymouth as a creative and vibrant place to live, work and play. Without our partners such as NPDC we wouldn't be able to provide events like the Pop Up or the festival itself,” she says.

Pop Up artists Victoria Girling-Butcher and Charlotte Johansen say they are gearing up for a great gig in front of a happy lunchtime crowd.

"The atmosphere in New Plymouth during the lead up to WOMAD is fabulously festive with visitors from all over New Zealand and the world filling up our town,” Girling-Butcher says.

“I'm thrilled to be a part of the Pop Up and can't wait to show off a new line up of musicians I've been working with."

Johansen echoes Girling-Butcher’s sentiments and says something special happens when the WOMAD train rolls into town.

“It’s great that the Pop Up gig happens every year because it brings the WOMAD buzz out in the open and it’s a chance for everyone to experience what the fuss is all about,” Johansen says.

They will be joined onstage by six-piece Mexican/USA group Las Cafeteras, who are known for fusing Afro-Mexican, hip-hop, folk and rhythms into songs of activism and celebration.

Details: WOMAD Pop Up Festival, Thursday March 14, from 11:30am to 1:30pm at Puke Ariki Landing. Wet weather venue: TSB Showplace.

  • WOMAD New Zealand is on from March 15 to 17 at the stunning TSB Bowl of Brooklands in New Plymouth. For more information visit www.womad.co.nz

CAPTION: Hundreds of people enjoyed last year’s free Pop Up Festival thanks to the combined efforts of NPDC and WOMAD NZ. This year’s event is on Thursday March 14, from 11:30am. Credit: DOMINIKA ZIELINSKA